Introducing DSSG Fellow Victoria Sass

Originally from Southern California I relocated to Seattle in the Fall of 2014 to start a PhD program in Sociology at the University of Washington. My current research focuses on urban environmental inequality and its relationship to racial/ethnic and economic stratification. I’m pursuing several projects looking at the relationships between residential mobility/stratification and air pollution.

I heard about the DSSG fellowship program from a fellow student in my program and was extremely drawn to the prospect of being involved in a project that explicitly seeks to better the Seattle area in substantive and community-centered ways. The eScience Institute’s Data Science for the Social Good program combines the skills and theoretical knowledge I came to graduate school to learn with my strong desire to make the world a better, more equitable place. I believe this program will provide me with tangible examples of ways to bridge academic research with community engagement, which I plan to integrate into the rest of my work throughout my career.

I am particularly interested in honing my GIS skills to better visualize spatial data. This is going to be especially important for answering questions about ORCA transit data and I know I will additionally benefit from these skills in my own work on neighborhoods and environmental quality. I’ve already learned quite a bit within the first two weeks of the program including the value and importance of Git and the utility of GitHub. I’ve also learned a number of new QGIS tricks and tools which I can already tell will help make me a better social (data) scientist!